By Harry Awurumibe, Editor-in -Chief, Abuja
Apparently not satisfied with their performances in the ill-fated FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 qualifier match between Nigeria and Ghana in Abuja which ended 1-1 thus ending Nigeria’s hope making it to Qatar, Super Eagles’ First Assistant Coach, Salisu Yusuf has released a list of 30 players, including Captain Ahmed Musa and forward Moses Simon, ahead of the prestigious international friendly matches against the ‘A’ Men National Teams of Mexico and Ecuador in the United States of America (USA).
But conspicuously missing in the list maide available to journalists by Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) Director of Communications Ademola Olajire on Tuesday in Abuja are top stars like SC Napoli of Italy talismanic player Victor Osimhen; Leicester FC of England Kelechi Iheanacho, Saudi Arabia-based Odion Jude Ighalo and goalkeeper Francis Uzoho of FC Omonia of Cyprus.
The three –time African champions will clash with CONCACAF powerhouse Mexico at the AT & T Stadium in Dallas, State of Texas on Saturday, 28th May, before flying to New Jersey to tackle Ecuador at the Red Bull Arena in Harrison on Thursday, 2nd June.
Yusuf, who is also Head Coach of the CHAN and the U23 teams, has included eight home–based professional players, including goalkeepers Adewale Adeyinka and Ojo Olorunleke, defender Ibrahim Buhari, and forwards Victor Mbaoma and Ishaq Rafiu.
Only 25 players will make the final list for the tour, which is preparatory to next month’s 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying matches against Sierra Leone in Abuja (9th June) and São Tomé & Príncipe in Marrakech, Morocco (13th June).
Goalkeepers: Maduka Okoye (Sparta Rotterdam, The Netherlands); Adewale Adeyinka (Akwa United); Ojo Olorunleke (Enyimba FC)
Defenders: Olaoluwa Aina (Torino FC, Italy); Abdullahi Shehu (AC Omonia, Cyprus); Zaidu Sanusi (FC Porto, Portugal); William Ekong (Watford FC, England); Leon Balogun (Glasgow Rangers, Scotland); Isa Ali (Remo Stars); Chidozie Awaziem (Alanyaspor FC, Turkey); Oluwasemilogo Ajayi (West Bromwich Albion, England); Calvin Bassey (Glasgow Rangers, Scotland); Ibrahim Buhari (Plateau United).
Midfielders: Joseph Ayodele-Aribo (Glasgow Rangers, Scotland); Alex Iwobi (Everton FC, England); Oghenekaro Etebo (Watford FC, England); Chiamaka Madu (Rivers United); Babatunde Afeez Nosiru (Kwara United); Azubuike Okechukwu (Yeni Malatyaspor, Turkey); Samson Tijani (Red Bull Salzburg, Austria); Alhassan Yusuf (Royal Antwerp FC, Belgium)
Forwards: Ahmed Musa (Fatih Karagumruk, Turkey); Moses Simon (FC Nantes, France); Samuel Chukwueze (Villarreal FC, Spain); Ademola Lookman (Leicester City, England); Sadiq Umar (UD Almeria, Spain); Emmanuel Dennis (Watford FC, England); Cyriel Dessers (Feyenoord FC, The Netherlands); Victor Mbaoma (Enyimba FC); Ishaq Rafiu (Rivers United).